About the course
The Postgraduate Certificate in Statistics and Epidemiology is a part-time course that is open to Oxford staff. The course will be taught alongside the MSc Global Health Science and Epidemiology and will consist of two modules.
This course is only open to University of Oxford staff.
Learning objectives and course structure
The course aims to provide intensive training in statistics and epidemiology to enable students to conduct and interpret research studies in important areas of population health.
Students will be able to apply these knowledge and skills to support population-based research, including statistical analyses of epidemiological data.
The course aims to promote advanced study of the challenges of global health and their potential solutions by in-depth study of a range of scientific disciplines, so that students may understand and integrate medical, epidemiological, social and economic aspects of ill-health. At the end of the course, students should have the knowledge and skills required to:
- describe and discuss the role and contribution of epidemiology to health;
- critically appraise, analyse and interpret epidemiological studies;
- select, devise and develop appropriate study designs for epidemiological research; and
- conduct appropriate statistical analyses of epidemiological and health-related data.
Students will develop knowledge and understanding of major issues in statistics and epidemiology as they apply to global health science.
The curriculum comprises two compulsory modules:
- Principles of epidemiology
- Principles of statistics
Pattern of learning
The modules in the PGCert course will be delivered in the form of a series of lectures, with accompanying practical or tutorial sessions involving obtaining and assessing relevant evidence, and applying the concepts and methods learned during the lectures. In addition, teaching is also delivered through seminars, student presentations, self-directed learning and independent study.
A typical week will include a mixture of lectures and practical sessions of approximately 9 hours of tutor-led, classroom- based activities in Michaelmas term and around five hours in Hilary term.
As a part-time student you will be required to attend classes, seminars and other obligations in Oxford for a minimum of 50 days each year. There will be no flexibility in the dates and pattern of attendance, which will be determined by the teaching team. Attendance will be required during term-time 3- 5 days each week on days determined by the teaching team. Attendance will be required outside of term-time 1-3 days each week on days determined by the teaching team.
The allocation of graduate supervision for this course is the responsibility of the Nuffield Department of Population Health and it is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff. Under exceptional circumstances a supervisor may be found outside the Nuffield Department of Population Health.
Each student will be assigned an academic supervisor who will support them through the duration of the course.
During the first term there are two formative assessments designed to enable teaching staff to monitor student progress. These assessments are compulsory but the marks do not contribute to the final outcome. All students are provided with detailed feedback that will enable them to improve their learning by helping them identify their strengths and weaknesses.
There are three summative assessments. At the end of the second term, a data set analysis and report (35%) is submitted. At the beginning of the third term there are two written examinations, one on the Principles of Statistics module (33%) and one on the Principles of Epidemiology (32%) comprising multi-component questions.
Graduates of the course are expected to use the methods learned in the course in their ongoing work and careers.
Changes to this course and your supervision
The University will seek to deliver this course in accordance with the description set out in this course page. However, there may be situations in which it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, either before or after registration. The safety of students, staff and visitors is paramount and major changes to delivery or services may have to be made in circumstances of a pandemic, epidemic or local health emergency. In addition, in certain circumstances, for example due to visa difficulties or because the health needs of students cannot be met, it may be necessary to make adjustments to course requirements for international study.
Where possible your academic supervisor will not change for the duration of your course. However, it may be necessary to assign a new academic supervisor during the course of study or before registration for reasons which might include illness, sabbatical leave, parental leave or change in employment.
Entry requirements for entry in 2024-25
Proven and potential academic excellence
As a minimum, applicants should hold or be predicted to achieve the following UK qualifications or their equivalent:
- a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours in medicine, a quantitative degree (eg statistics) or a health-related degree.
For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.5 out of 4.0.
If your degree is not from the UK or another country specified above, visit our International Qualifications page for guidance on the qualifications and grades that would usually be considered to meet the University’s minimum entry requirements.
GRE General Test scores
No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.
Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience
- Preference will be given to applicants with professional or research experience in a health-related field.
- Preference will also be given to those who have previously studied mathematics or statistics as a module in their undergraduate degree or at A-level, or equivalent.
- Publications are not essential, but will be viewed favourably.
English language proficiency
This course requires proficiency in English at the University's higher level. If your first language is not English, you may need to provide evidence that you meet this requirement. The minimum scores required to meet the University's higher level are detailed in the table below.
|Test||Minimum overall score||Minimum score per component|
|IELTS Academic (Institution code: 0713)||7.5||7.0|
TOEFL iBT, including the 'Home Edition'
(Institution code: 0490)
*Previously known as the Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English or Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)
†Previously known as the Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English or Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE)
Your test must have been taken no more than two years before the start date of your course. Our Application Guide provides further information about the English language test requirement.
Declaring extenuating circumstances
If your ability to meet the entry requirements has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic (eg you were awarded an unclassified/ungraded degree) or any other exceptional personal circumstance (eg other illness or bereavement), please refer to the guidance on extenuating circumstances in the Application Guide for information about how to declare this so that your application can be considered appropriately.
You will need to register three referees who can give an informed view of your academic ability and suitability for the course. The How to apply section of this page provides details of the types of reference that are required in support of your application for this course and how these will be assessed.
You will be required to supply supporting documents with your application. The How to apply section of this page provides details of the supporting documents that are required as part of your application for this course and how these will be assessed.
Performance at interview
Interviews are normally held as part of the admissions process.
Applicants will be shortlisted for interview based solely on the criteria given above. The interview panel will comprise a minimum of two senior academics and the interview will normally last around 15 to 20 minutes. Interviews will be conducted via video link and are expected to be held in mid-late January.
Applicants may be asked about their reasons for applying and to demonstrate their preliminary knowledge of the subject area.
How your application is assessed
Your application will be assessed purely on your proven and potential academic excellence and other entry requirements published under that heading.
References and supporting documents submitted as part of your application, and your performance at interview (if interviews are held) will be considered as part of the assessment process. Whether or not you have secured funding will not be taken into consideration when your application is assessed.
An overview of the shortlisting and selection process is provided below. Our 'After you apply' pages provide more information about how applications are assessed.
Shortlisting and selection
Students are considered for shortlisting and selected for admission without regard to age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy and maternity, race (including colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins), religion or belief (including lack of belief), sex, sexual orientation, as well as other relevant circumstances including parental or caring responsibilities or social background. However, please note the following:
- socio-economic information may be taken into account in the selection of applicants and award of scholarships for courses that are part of the University’s pilot selection procedure and for scholarships aimed at under-represented groups;
- country of ordinary residence may be taken into account in the awarding of certain scholarships; and
- protected characteristics may be taken into account during shortlisting for interview or the award of scholarships where the University has approved a positive action case under the Equality Act 2010.
Initiatives to improve access to graduate study
This course is taking part in a continuing pilot programme to improve the selection procedure for graduate applications, in order to ensure that all candidates are evaluated fairly.
For this course, socio-economic data (where it has been provided in the application form) will be used to contextualise applications at the different stages of the selection process. Further information about how we use your socio-economic data can be found in our page about initiatives to improve access to graduate study.
Processing your data for shortlisting and selection
Admissions panels and assessors
All recommendations to admit a student involve the judgement of at least two members of the academic staff with relevant experience and expertise, and must also be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or Admissions Committee (or equivalent within the department).
Admissions panels or committees will always include at least one member of academic staff who has undertaken appropriate training.
Other factors governing whether places can be offered
The following factors will also govern whether candidates can be offered places:
- the ability of the University to provide the appropriate supervision for your studies, as outlined under the 'Supervision' heading in the About section of this page;
- the ability of the University to provide appropriate support for your studies (eg through the provision of facilities, resources, teaching and/or research opportunities); and
- minimum and maximum limits to the numbers of students who may be admitted to the University's taught and research programmes.
Offer conditions for successful applications
If you receive an offer of a place at Oxford, your offer will outline any conditions that you need to satisfy and any actions you need to take, together with any associated deadlines. These may include academic conditions, such as achieving a specific final grade in your current degree course. These conditions will usually depend on your individual academic circumstances and may vary between applicants. Our 'After you apply' pages provide more information about offers and conditions.
In addition to any academic conditions which are set, you will also be required to meet the following requirements:
If you are offered a place, you will be required to complete a Financial Declaration in order to meet your financial condition of admission.
Disclosure of criminal convictions
In accordance with the University’s obligations towards students and staff, we will ask you to declare any relevant, unspent criminal convictions before you can take up a place at Oxford.
Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)
Some postgraduate research students in science, engineering and technology subjects will need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate prior to applying for a Student visa (under the Student Route). For some courses, the requirement to apply for an ATAS certificate may depend on your research area.
The PGCert in Statistics and Epidemiology is hosted by the Nuffield Department of Population Health. Teaching takes place in the Richard Doll Building at the Old Road Campus in Headington.
You will have access to the department's IT support services and the University’s library services, such as the Radcliffe Science Library, the Cairns Library at the John Radcliffe Hospital and the Knowledge Centre based in the Old Road Campus Research Building.
You will also have access to the weekly seminar held on the Old Road Campus and will be made aware of any other seminars taking place across the Medical Sciences Division. You will be welcome to attend the Medical Sciences Skills Training programmes if you wish.
Nuffield Department of Population Health
The Nuffield Department of Population Health (NDPH) brings together over 500 staff from a number of world-leading research groups with the aim of reducing premature death and disability from human disease.
A number of world-renowned research groups and disciplines are part of the NDPH, including the Clinical Trial Service Unit and Epidemiological Studies Unit (CTSU), Cancer Epidemiology Unit (CEU), National Perinatal Epidemiology Group (NPEU), Health Economics Research Centre (HERC) and Ethox. These groups are responsible for some of the world’s largest population cohorts and randomised trials, and produce highly-cited practice-changing research, which continues to have a major impact on international clinical management guidelines (eg on statins, aspirin, hypertension, pre-eclampsia, heart failure, serious childhood illness and infections).
The department offers three taught courses: the one-year taught MSc in Global Health Science and Epidemiology, the PG Certificate in Statistics and Epidemiology and the two-year distance learning MSc in Clinical Trials. The department also offers the DPhil in Population Health, offered full-time over three to four years and part-time over six to eight years.
For details about searching for funding as a graduate student visit our dedicated Funding pages, which contain information on external funding, loan schemes and other funding sources. We would suggest that you review this information carefully, as not all funding opportunities are available for students applying to postgraduate diploma and postgraduate certificate courses.
Annual fees for entry in 2024-25
Annual Course fees
Further details about fee status eligibility can be found on the fee status webpage.
Information about course fees
Course fees are payable each year, for the duration of your fee liability (your fee liability is the length of time for which you are required to pay course fees). For courses lasting longer than one year, please be aware that fees will usually increase annually. For details, please see our guidance on changes to fees and charges.
Course fees cover your teaching as well as other academic services and facilities provided to support your studies. Unless specified in the additional information section below, course fees do not cover your accommodation, residential costs or other living costs. They also don’t cover any additional costs and charges that are outlined in the additional information below.
Each PG Cert student is expected to provide their own laptop, which is estimated to cost £600. No bursaries are available from the department for this, though we may provide a loan laptop if it is not possible for the student to provide their own.
In addition to your course fees, you will need to ensure that you have adequate funds to support your living costs for the duration of your course.
For the 2024-25 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between c. £1,345 and £1,955 for each month spent in Oxford. Full information, including a breakdown of likely living costs in Oxford for items such as food, accommodation and study costs, is available on our living costs page. The current economic climate and high national rate of inflation make it very hard to estimate potential changes to the cost of living over the next few years. When planning your finances for any future years of study in Oxford beyond 2024-25, it is suggested that you allow for potential increases in living expenses of around 5% each year – although this rate may vary depending on the national economic situation. UK inflationary increases will be kept under review and this page updated.
If you are studying part-time your living costs may vary depending on your personal circumstances but you must still ensure that you will have sufficient funding to meet these costs for the duration of your course.
Matriculation confers membership of the University on students. Students who enrol on this course will not be matriculated and will not become a member of an Oxford college. Although not formally members of the University, non-matriculated students are expected to observe the same rules and regulations as matriculated students. Further information about matriculation is available on the Oxford Students website.
Before you apply
Our guide to getting started provides general advice on how to prepare for and start your application. Check the deadlines on this page and the information about deadlines in our Application Guide. If it's important for you to have your application considered under a particular deadline – eg under a December or January deadline in order to be considered for Oxford scholarships – we recommend that you aim to complete and submit your application at least two weeks in advance.
This course is only open to University of Oxford staff.
Application fee waivers
An application fee of £75 is payable per course application. Application fee waivers are available for the following applicants who meet the eligibility criteria:
- applicants from low-income countries;
- refugees and displaced persons;
- UK applicants from low-income backgrounds; and
- applicants who applied for our Graduate Access Programmes in the past two years and met the eligibility criteria.
You are encouraged to check whether you're eligible for an application fee waiver before you apply.
Do I need to contact anyone before I apply?
You do not need to make contact with the department before you apply but you are encouraged to visit the relevant departmental webpages to read any further information about your chosen course.
Completing your application
You should refer to the information below when completing the application form, paying attention to the specific requirements for the supporting documents.
For this course, the application form will include questions that collect information that would usually be included in a CV/résumé. You should not upload a separate document. If a separate CV/résumé is uploaded, it will be removed from your application.
If any document does not meet the specification, including the stipulated word count, your application may be considered incomplete and not assessed by the academic department. Expand each section to show further details.
Three overall, academic preferred
Whilst you must register three referees, the department may start the assessment of your application if two of the three references are submitted by the course deadline and your application is otherwise complete. Please note that you may still be required to ensure your third referee supplies a reference for consideration.
References should generally be academic, though one professional reference is acceptable.
Your references will be assessed for:
- your intellectual ability;
- your academic achievement;
- your motivation and interest in the course and the subject area; and
- your ability to work effectively both in a group and independently.
Your transcripts should give detailed information of the individual grades received in your university-level qualifications to date. You should only upload official documents issued by your institution and any transcript not in English should be accompanied by a certified translation.
More information about the transcript requirement is available in the Application Guide.
Statement of purpose/personal statement:
A maximum of 1,000 words
Your statement must be written in English and describe why you are applying to this course, how your past studies and work are relevant to the course, what specific aspects of the course interest you and how the course will be important for your future career.
If possible, please ensure that the word count is clearly displayed on the document.
This will be assessed for:
- a demonstrable interest in and commitment to population health epidemiology;
- the motivation for selecting the department and the course;
- your capacity to complete the course;
- a clear and well-argued understanding of the benefits of the course to your future prospects;
- any relevant academic or professional training or experience; and
- your ability to present a reasoned and coherent case in proficient English.